Remove WEEE Regulations for Small Businesses

Remove the requirement to join a producer scheme for small and medium sized enterprises.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (WEEE Regulations) embody in UK law the requirements of the EU Directive 2002/96/EU. Typically, the regulations in other EU countries have been applied differently and allow exemptions for small businesses, but in the UK this is not so.

The WEEE Regulations place a requirement on companies to join a producer scheme, typically this costs £1000 per year, with additional costs depending on the amount of WEEE by weight placed on sale in the UK

The basic idea of these regulations is make manufacturers pay for the disposal costs of electrical equipment at the end of it's life, and there is some logic in this for mass produced items such as televisions. However for small companies the costs are disproportionate and the red tape is a nightmare.

There are many ridiculous aspects to this legislation.

– Producers that exclusively export (whether to the EU or rest of the world) are not covered

– Producers that make equipment in other countries for sale here are not covered

– The emphasis on the weight of the product is unfair on, for example, lathe manufacturers whose products contain lots of cast iron and concrete to make them heavy, and only a small proportion of electronics.

This is an excellent example of the UK "Gold Plating" an EU Directive

Why is this idea important?

Remove the requirement to join a producer scheme for small and medium sized enterprises.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (WEEE Regulations) embody in UK law the requirements of the EU Directive 2002/96/EU. Typically, the regulations in other EU countries have been applied differently and allow exemptions for small businesses, but in the UK this is not so.

The WEEE Regulations place a requirement on companies to join a producer scheme, typically this costs £1000 per year, with additional costs depending on the amount of WEEE by weight placed on sale in the UK

The basic idea of these regulations is make manufacturers pay for the disposal costs of electrical equipment at the end of it's life, and there is some logic in this for mass produced items such as televisions. However for small companies the costs are disproportionate and the red tape is a nightmare.

There are many ridiculous aspects to this legislation.

– Producers that exclusively export (whether to the EU or rest of the world) are not covered

– Producers that make equipment in other countries for sale here are not covered

– The emphasis on the weight of the product is unfair on, for example, lathe manufacturers whose products contain lots of cast iron and concrete to make them heavy, and only a small proportion of electronics.

This is an excellent example of the UK "Gold Plating" an EU Directive

Avoid estate agents, sell your own home

 

Currently in the UK if a person wants to set up a company to enable individuals to sell their properties online, and then provides those individuals with a 'for sale' board, the company would be classified as an estate agent.

Under section 1 of the Estate Agents Act 1979,  you are an estate agent if you:

  1. for the purpose of, or with a view to, effecting the introduction to the client of a third person who wishes to acquire or, as the case may be, dispose of such an interest; and
  2. after such an introduction has been effected in the course of that business, for the purpose of securing the disposal or, as the case may be, the acquisition of that interest;

Due to an exemption clause this Act does not apply to the publication of advertisements or the dissemination of information (e.g a newspaper), but because the company provides a ‘for sale’ board it is seen as an ‘introduction’ therefore the Estate Agents Act 1979 and Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 apply.

 

As an estate agent you are bound by the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, where you can not ‘make false or misleading statements about specified matters relating to property’, therefore before a property could be entered on your website you would have to verify all its particulars.

An office of fair trading (OFT) study into home buying and selling states that changes to outdated legislation, which has hindered firms hoping to set up online services for people to sell their own home, would help both buyers and sellers.  When the Estate Agents Act came into force a high street estate agent was the primary way to buy and sell properties.  The act needs updating to take into account new technologies, the OFT proposes two options for updating the Estate Agents Act 1979:

  1. define the activities that pose risks to consumers, and link the prohibitions and requirements in the law to those activities. 
  2. frame the law in terms of the agency relationship between the seller and the intermediary – if the intermediary is both marketing the property and negotiating then they should be subject to regulation, whereas if the intermediary is a neutral trading platform that facilitates direct contact between individuals, then they should not. 

Why is this idea important?

 

Currently in the UK if a person wants to set up a company to enable individuals to sell their properties online, and then provides those individuals with a 'for sale' board, the company would be classified as an estate agent.

Under section 1 of the Estate Agents Act 1979,  you are an estate agent if you:

  1. for the purpose of, or with a view to, effecting the introduction to the client of a third person who wishes to acquire or, as the case may be, dispose of such an interest; and
  2. after such an introduction has been effected in the course of that business, for the purpose of securing the disposal or, as the case may be, the acquisition of that interest;

Due to an exemption clause this Act does not apply to the publication of advertisements or the dissemination of information (e.g a newspaper), but because the company provides a ‘for sale’ board it is seen as an ‘introduction’ therefore the Estate Agents Act 1979 and Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 apply.

 

As an estate agent you are bound by the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, where you can not ‘make false or misleading statements about specified matters relating to property’, therefore before a property could be entered on your website you would have to verify all its particulars.

An office of fair trading (OFT) study into home buying and selling states that changes to outdated legislation, which has hindered firms hoping to set up online services for people to sell their own home, would help both buyers and sellers.  When the Estate Agents Act came into force a high street estate agent was the primary way to buy and sell properties.  The act needs updating to take into account new technologies, the OFT proposes two options for updating the Estate Agents Act 1979:

  1. define the activities that pose risks to consumers, and link the prohibitions and requirements in the law to those activities. 
  2. frame the law in terms of the agency relationship between the seller and the intermediary – if the intermediary is both marketing the property and negotiating then they should be subject to regulation, whereas if the intermediary is a neutral trading platform that facilitates direct contact between individuals, then they should not. 

Allowing businesses to submit expenses evidence in digital format rather than paper original

 






Scrap the requirement for businesses to keep paper records and instead allow scanned and digital documents to be kept.

 

The insistence of tax inspectors on seeing paper originals (for example of expenses) is obsolete, and creates more onerous (and less green) duties of filing, and the hassle of having to retain years of paperwork.

 

There is no more security from fraud in paper (which can be easily produced with today's desktop publishing abilities), than there is in a digital scan.

 

This would be a great relief to small businesses and easier to maintain and process.

 

Of course there is no need to completely abolish paper, but the alternative should be allowed, at least as a start.

Why is this idea important?

 






Scrap the requirement for businesses to keep paper records and instead allow scanned and digital documents to be kept.

 

The insistence of tax inspectors on seeing paper originals (for example of expenses) is obsolete, and creates more onerous (and less green) duties of filing, and the hassle of having to retain years of paperwork.

 

There is no more security from fraud in paper (which can be easily produced with today's desktop publishing abilities), than there is in a digital scan.

 

This would be a great relief to small businesses and easier to maintain and process.

 

Of course there is no need to completely abolish paper, but the alternative should be allowed, at least as a start.

Law of Distraint should be amended.

 

 

The law of Distraint in commercial properties allows the landlord to send in bailiffs to remove assets of the company without any prior notice to the tenant.  No court order or notification is needed and all costs are passed onto the tenants.  This law effectively ensures that the landlord can immediately close down a trading enterprise for any amount of arrears and at any time.  This is fine when a tenant is deliberately trying to withhold rent from the landlord but in cases where companies are genuinely suffering as is happening in the current climate and are trying to keep their companies alive, this law basically allows landlords to harass tenants into borrowing from family, selling personal assets and other methods to keep their companies alive.

 

The law should be amended so that landlords have to give due warning before sending in bailiffs and also tenants should be given time to pay back arrears without damaging the company or their personal assets.

Why is this idea important?

 

 

The law of Distraint in commercial properties allows the landlord to send in bailiffs to remove assets of the company without any prior notice to the tenant.  No court order or notification is needed and all costs are passed onto the tenants.  This law effectively ensures that the landlord can immediately close down a trading enterprise for any amount of arrears and at any time.  This is fine when a tenant is deliberately trying to withhold rent from the landlord but in cases where companies are genuinely suffering as is happening in the current climate and are trying to keep their companies alive, this law basically allows landlords to harass tenants into borrowing from family, selling personal assets and other methods to keep their companies alive.

 

The law should be amended so that landlords have to give due warning before sending in bailiffs and also tenants should be given time to pay back arrears without damaging the company or their personal assets.

Facilitating home businesses

The deeds of most modern residential properties include a restrictive covenant prohibiting the running of a business. The thinking behind this was that running most businesses causes noise, and involved commercial vehicles or lots of visitors, but in the digital age this is no longer the case (and the covenants are often ignored.)

My solicitor tells me it's almost impossible to remove such a clause as you have to get agreement from the original builder and everybody else on the development. My suggestion is that the requirement for such agreement should be legally restricted to only those properties that are directly affected: in many cases just the immediate neighbours.

In our own case we have a second home (holiday home) which we would like to run as a commercial holiday let, but cannot due to a restrictive covenant.

 

 

 

Why is this idea important?

The deeds of most modern residential properties include a restrictive covenant prohibiting the running of a business. The thinking behind this was that running most businesses causes noise, and involved commercial vehicles or lots of visitors, but in the digital age this is no longer the case (and the covenants are often ignored.)

My solicitor tells me it's almost impossible to remove such a clause as you have to get agreement from the original builder and everybody else on the development. My suggestion is that the requirement for such agreement should be legally restricted to only those properties that are directly affected: in many cases just the immediate neighbours.

In our own case we have a second home (holiday home) which we would like to run as a commercial holiday let, but cannot due to a restrictive covenant.

 

 

 

Reform the National Minimum Wage to allow profit-share enterprises

Simply that the burden of paying the National Minimum Wage should be lifted from enterprises where the Employee or Worker has a share in any profits or gross earnings of that enterprise.

Why is this idea important?

Simply that the burden of paying the National Minimum Wage should be lifted from enterprises where the Employee or Worker has a share in any profits or gross earnings of that enterprise.

merge “employer’s” and “employee’s” national insurance: it’s all our money anyway

End employer's national insurance contribution increase employee's national insurance contribution to compensate.

Why is this idea important?

End employer's national insurance contribution increase employee's national insurance contribution to compensate.

Simplify public sector procurement and commissioning procedures

Look at how private sector businesses engage suppliers and adopt good practice into public sector procurement and commissioning which is onerous – wasting money and time for both the commissioner and the tenderer.

Why is this idea important?

Look at how private sector businesses engage suppliers and adopt good practice into public sector procurement and commissioning which is onerous – wasting money and time for both the commissioner and the tenderer.

Allowing temporary signs for promoting farmers’ markets

Amending the planning legislation which currently prevents farmers' markets from displaying signs to promote their markets.  Better promotion leads to more popular and better attended markets which are both good for the farmers and producers who attend but also the local community where the market is based.

Why is this idea important?

Amending the planning legislation which currently prevents farmers' markets from displaying signs to promote their markets.  Better promotion leads to more popular and better attended markets which are both good for the farmers and producers who attend but also the local community where the market is based.

Recycling for small businesses

End the law which states that small businesses cannot take their recycling to the public amenity tip. The recycling companies need more plastic to recycle to make a profit, so why not let small businesses take their plastic bottles to the tip, without needing a waste carriers licence.

Why is this idea important?

End the law which states that small businesses cannot take their recycling to the public amenity tip. The recycling companies need more plastic to recycle to make a profit, so why not let small businesses take their plastic bottles to the tip, without needing a waste carriers licence.

Abolish most change of use restrictions for non-residential properties

Current planning law classifies non-residential properties into a multitude of use classes, and in most cases planning permission is required for change of use from one class to another. Local councils use these use classes as a way of reserving certain properties for uses they consider appropriate, but often without clear links to actual needs or to what the market can bear. Thus many properties remain empty for years because there is no viable use in the class the property has been assigned to, whereas others who want to use the property are not allowed to for no good reason. This has a damaging effect on small businesses and on community groups. For example, in cases I know of personally, a community organisation was refused permission to open a former shop as a cafe (because a neighbouring shop had been given this change of use permission but was in fact still in use as a shop) and in two separate cases (one overturned on appeal, another currently subject to appeal) permission was refused for industrial buildings that had been empty for years to be used by churches. Some restrictions on change of use of premises may still be needed e.g. to control fast food premises, but these might be better handled by licensing authorities rather than planning officials.

Why is this idea important?

Current planning law classifies non-residential properties into a multitude of use classes, and in most cases planning permission is required for change of use from one class to another. Local councils use these use classes as a way of reserving certain properties for uses they consider appropriate, but often without clear links to actual needs or to what the market can bear. Thus many properties remain empty for years because there is no viable use in the class the property has been assigned to, whereas others who want to use the property are not allowed to for no good reason. This has a damaging effect on small businesses and on community groups. For example, in cases I know of personally, a community organisation was refused permission to open a former shop as a cafe (because a neighbouring shop had been given this change of use permission but was in fact still in use as a shop) and in two separate cases (one overturned on appeal, another currently subject to appeal) permission was refused for industrial buildings that had been empty for years to be used by churches. Some restrictions on change of use of premises may still be needed e.g. to control fast food premises, but these might be better handled by licensing authorities rather than planning officials.

Stop the abolition of cheque books

We should not allow the banks to abolish cheque books.  How are we supposed to pay local tradesman.  Card readers can't work in areas with no mobile phone signal. If  locals were to keep a note of the trader's account no it would be totally insecure (especially if the customer keeps all his suppliers details on a computer).

Why is this idea important?

We should not allow the banks to abolish cheque books.  How are we supposed to pay local tradesman.  Card readers can't work in areas with no mobile phone signal. If  locals were to keep a note of the trader's account no it would be totally insecure (especially if the customer keeps all his suppliers details on a computer).

Abolish Flyering Ban Zones and promoter Taxes

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 Section 23 inserted a section into the Environmental Protection Act 1990.  The relevant section of the EPA 1990 is 94B and schedule 3A – To give the power to local authorities to fine promoters for littering.

Whether they actually are in the habit of dropping litter or not!

Note that this is not Primary Legislation.  Yet as soon as this became law it was ruthlessly enforced.  As local promoters went under or bust the local authorities involved went into promotion themselves. 

Firstly in the most out of the way places like Sheffield and Newquay where people didn't realise that this wasn't normal in the promotional industries and then in local authority after local authority until eventually the legislation reached Brighton and then finally the
London Comedy Circuit
 

Many promoters now have to pay what are needless TAXes to their local authority to clear up the litter they allegedly create when it should be perfectly possible to identify litter-creating promoters from their own promotional literature.

This legislation was never VOTED for in any MANIFESTO by anyone – it was appended to one act by another.

It doesn't bring in any substantial income to the local authority, it puts promoters and small businesses out of businesses, it gives councillors a political control over promoting which verges on censorship and it's hugely damaging to the live comedy and music industries and hugely expensive to enforce. 

How can Sheffield Council justify charging even the world's most untidy promoter £45 a day to promote their event? Brighton Council even has the brass nerve to charge more for a licence after 7pm on the grounds that their council workers "may have to work anti social hours" in order to pick up litter that may not even neccessarilly be created.  This is just greed by the local authority and bordering on prejudice against the promotional industries.  I mean, why does Cornwall have a flyering ban?  I can understand someone wanting to regulate Leicester Square even though I dont agree with it … but Cornwall?  Yes, I have gigged there it's not the nightlife center of the world (No, offence Cornwall but you know what I mean.

Please sign the petition and help us kill this piece of legislative nonsense

http://londonisfunny.com/petition?page=4#signatures

 

Why is this idea important?

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 Section 23 inserted a section into the Environmental Protection Act 1990.  The relevant section of the EPA 1990 is 94B and schedule 3A – To give the power to local authorities to fine promoters for littering.

Whether they actually are in the habit of dropping litter or not!

Note that this is not Primary Legislation.  Yet as soon as this became law it was ruthlessly enforced.  As local promoters went under or bust the local authorities involved went into promotion themselves. 

Firstly in the most out of the way places like Sheffield and Newquay where people didn't realise that this wasn't normal in the promotional industries and then in local authority after local authority until eventually the legislation reached Brighton and then finally the
London Comedy Circuit
 

Many promoters now have to pay what are needless TAXes to their local authority to clear up the litter they allegedly create when it should be perfectly possible to identify litter-creating promoters from their own promotional literature.

This legislation was never VOTED for in any MANIFESTO by anyone – it was appended to one act by another.

It doesn't bring in any substantial income to the local authority, it puts promoters and small businesses out of businesses, it gives councillors a political control over promoting which verges on censorship and it's hugely damaging to the live comedy and music industries and hugely expensive to enforce. 

How can Sheffield Council justify charging even the world's most untidy promoter £45 a day to promote their event? Brighton Council even has the brass nerve to charge more for a licence after 7pm on the grounds that their council workers "may have to work anti social hours" in order to pick up litter that may not even neccessarilly be created.  This is just greed by the local authority and bordering on prejudice against the promotional industries.  I mean, why does Cornwall have a flyering ban?  I can understand someone wanting to regulate Leicester Square even though I dont agree with it … but Cornwall?  Yes, I have gigged there it's not the nightlife center of the world (No, offence Cornwall but you know what I mean.

Please sign the petition and help us kill this piece of legislative nonsense

http://londonisfunny.com/petition?page=4#signatures

 

Contracts by the Self Employed

 




Given that the self-employed are able to act faster than any other sector of the economy I believe that the Federation of Small Businesses should forcibly promote the idea that the self-employed should be able to establish contracts between each other as THEY think fit. These should not be later re-interpreted by HMRC under the little understood rules of IR35.

Why is this idea important?

 




Given that the self-employed are able to act faster than any other sector of the economy I believe that the Federation of Small Businesses should forcibly promote the idea that the self-employed should be able to establish contracts between each other as THEY think fit. These should not be later re-interpreted by HMRC under the little understood rules of IR35.

Regulations appropriate to the size of business.

Very small businesses suffer from bureaucracy more, proportionally, than  big ones.

All regulations should apply to big enterprises [big financially, or in numbers they employ? – I leave something for our expensive, and worth every penny!, MPs to decide].

Medium-sized enterprises should have some relief.

Small businesses – perhaps those employing less then twenty, say, or less then twelve, shall have only basic regulation.

Why is this idea important?

Very small businesses suffer from bureaucracy more, proportionally, than  big ones.

All regulations should apply to big enterprises [big financially, or in numbers they employ? – I leave something for our expensive, and worth every penny!, MPs to decide].

Medium-sized enterprises should have some relief.

Small businesses – perhaps those employing less then twenty, say, or less then twelve, shall have only basic regulation.

Repeal corporate TPS legislation

TPS legislation was originally introduced to reduce unwanted calls to consumers. Telephone numbers listed cannot be called for sales or marketing purposes. This is a useful law, especially for the vulnerable and elderly. 

However, extending this law to allow businesses to register their numbers has caused a huge drag and another level of bureaucracy for small business. Many companies choose to ignore (or are ignorant) of the legislation, placing those that follow it at a competitive disadvantage.

  • The legislation (and cost) disproportionately affect small business as they do not have the expertise or technical skills to make compliance simple. Regularly checking all the numbers you may wish to call against the Corporate TPS register requires time, money and technical competence.
  • Telemarketing is the cheapest way for small businesses to market locally. These businesses cannot afford the large media advertising campaigns that their large competitors can.
  • The Corporate TPS legislation does not apply to companies calling in to the UK from overseas, making a UK business less able to compete.
  • The legislation has not been effective, with NO successful prosecutions for Corporate TPS breaches I am aware of.

Why is this idea important?

TPS legislation was originally introduced to reduce unwanted calls to consumers. Telephone numbers listed cannot be called for sales or marketing purposes. This is a useful law, especially for the vulnerable and elderly. 

However, extending this law to allow businesses to register their numbers has caused a huge drag and another level of bureaucracy for small business. Many companies choose to ignore (or are ignorant) of the legislation, placing those that follow it at a competitive disadvantage.

  • The legislation (and cost) disproportionately affect small business as they do not have the expertise or technical skills to make compliance simple. Regularly checking all the numbers you may wish to call against the Corporate TPS register requires time, money and technical competence.
  • Telemarketing is the cheapest way for small businesses to market locally. These businesses cannot afford the large media advertising campaigns that their large competitors can.
  • The Corporate TPS legislation does not apply to companies calling in to the UK from overseas, making a UK business less able to compete.
  • The legislation has not been effective, with NO successful prosecutions for Corporate TPS breaches I am aware of.

Charging of Statutory Interest for Late Payment to be mandatory.

Many small businesses are affected by poor payers, so much so that it has was tagged a new 'British Disease' in the 90's.  The Late Payment Act 'pill' intended to cure this disease has not worked (late payment of commercial debts (interest) act 1998).

This is a cultural problem brought about by (at least) indifference, or (at worse) corporate bullying or criminality.  

Small business needs support in backing up their rights to Statutory Interest on the debt.

By making it mandatory to pay Statutory Interest after a short interest-free opportunity has passed, this would establish punctual payment as the norm, as it is in many other countries.     

Why is this idea important?

Many small businesses are affected by poor payers, so much so that it has was tagged a new 'British Disease' in the 90's.  The Late Payment Act 'pill' intended to cure this disease has not worked (late payment of commercial debts (interest) act 1998).

This is a cultural problem brought about by (at least) indifference, or (at worse) corporate bullying or criminality.  

Small business needs support in backing up their rights to Statutory Interest on the debt.

By making it mandatory to pay Statutory Interest after a short interest-free opportunity has passed, this would establish punctual payment as the norm, as it is in many other countries.     

Remove most employment law from small businesses

Many small businesses are run by people only one step removed from being employed themselves.

I would suggest that all small businesses that employ fewer than 10 people should be exempt from all or most employment law.

Why is this idea important?

Many small businesses are run by people only one step removed from being employed themselves.

I would suggest that all small businesses that employ fewer than 10 people should be exempt from all or most employment law.

Enable Home Businesses

I'll use myself as an example. I care for my quadriplegic partner, who needs constant attendance, so I am completely unable to work outside the home. While I've been at home, alongside learning physiotherapy and advanced form-filling, I have tried to develop useful skills for my circumstances; through volunteering online I have learnt web and software development, video editing and postproduction, graphic design, and documentation skills: all things I can do from home while still doing a good job as a carer. (I want to be clear: I don't think carers are all able or should be forced to work from home, but I would personally like to as I have a cognitive surplus going on here.)

But it's impossible to start a small home business because I cannot immediately replace the support my partner needs, and the bureaucracy is so inflexible. I care for my partner unsupported 22 hours a day, but if I start a business I would immediately have to pay care and equipment costs for the small amount of help I do get. This, combined with the loss of Carer's Allowance, Council Tax and Housing Benefit means I can never realistically earn escape velocity.

While I, as a fit and healthy 27 year old, could easily eat ramen and wear an extra jumper for 18 months to startup, my partner is too ill to undergo further privation. Similarly, we cannot lose this adapted accommodation as there is no accessible alternative. So I can't take the risk because it's not my risk to take.

If Carer's Allowance was made a real payment made on the basis of how much caring work you do, rather than how much other work you don't do, or if the earning restriction was raised to the average national wage instead of £5,200 per year, it could be a really enabling benefit.

If severely disabled people could claim housing costs independently from their partners it would reduce the risk of working. (Even better if severely disabled people could get access to adapted social housing or were permitted to save money for a deposit on an adapted/adaptable property, but obviously that's a pipe dream.)

If people stuck at home due to caring responsibilities were given 18 months to get a home business going before the disabled partner lost entitlements and exemptions (like Council Tax,  Adult Social Care costs and the disabled person's Income Support, though obviously not my own) I could take the risk. This allowance would cost the state NO money.

To summarise:

Pay Carer's Allowance on basis of work done instead of work not done and/or means test it at national average wage.

Encourage home businesses by continuing exemptions for the first 18 months.

Guarantee housing support for people with special housing needs without condemning their entire household to welfare limbo.

Why is this idea important?

I'll use myself as an example. I care for my quadriplegic partner, who needs constant attendance, so I am completely unable to work outside the home. While I've been at home, alongside learning physiotherapy and advanced form-filling, I have tried to develop useful skills for my circumstances; through volunteering online I have learnt web and software development, video editing and postproduction, graphic design, and documentation skills: all things I can do from home while still doing a good job as a carer. (I want to be clear: I don't think carers are all able or should be forced to work from home, but I would personally like to as I have a cognitive surplus going on here.)

But it's impossible to start a small home business because I cannot immediately replace the support my partner needs, and the bureaucracy is so inflexible. I care for my partner unsupported 22 hours a day, but if I start a business I would immediately have to pay care and equipment costs for the small amount of help I do get. This, combined with the loss of Carer's Allowance, Council Tax and Housing Benefit means I can never realistically earn escape velocity.

While I, as a fit and healthy 27 year old, could easily eat ramen and wear an extra jumper for 18 months to startup, my partner is too ill to undergo further privation. Similarly, we cannot lose this adapted accommodation as there is no accessible alternative. So I can't take the risk because it's not my risk to take.

If Carer's Allowance was made a real payment made on the basis of how much caring work you do, rather than how much other work you don't do, or if the earning restriction was raised to the average national wage instead of £5,200 per year, it could be a really enabling benefit.

If severely disabled people could claim housing costs independently from their partners it would reduce the risk of working. (Even better if severely disabled people could get access to adapted social housing or were permitted to save money for a deposit on an adapted/adaptable property, but obviously that's a pipe dream.)

If people stuck at home due to caring responsibilities were given 18 months to get a home business going before the disabled partner lost entitlements and exemptions (like Council Tax,  Adult Social Care costs and the disabled person's Income Support, though obviously not my own) I could take the risk. This allowance would cost the state NO money.

To summarise:

Pay Carer's Allowance on basis of work done instead of work not done and/or means test it at national average wage.

Encourage home businesses by continuing exemptions for the first 18 months.

Guarantee housing support for people with special housing needs without condemning their entire household to welfare limbo.

Make forming a small business easier

Introduce US-style LLC companies. They are fast, cheap, and easy to form, have minimal reporting and regulatory requirements, and are ideal for single-owners like small businesspeople. They provide the benefits of limited liability that you'd normally get with a limited company, but also provide flow-through taxation so you don't have to pay tax twice on the profits of your company (like under the current system).

This form of company would be very attractive as an alternative to limited companies or sole proprietorships.

Why is this idea important?

Introduce US-style LLC companies. They are fast, cheap, and easy to form, have minimal reporting and regulatory requirements, and are ideal for single-owners like small businesspeople. They provide the benefits of limited liability that you'd normally get with a limited company, but also provide flow-through taxation so you don't have to pay tax twice on the profits of your company (like under the current system).

This form of company would be very attractive as an alternative to limited companies or sole proprietorships.

363 Annual Returns

That businesses only be required to make a return when the shareholders/ directors change. Saves the 2+ milion small businesses that don't really change that much £15-30 a year in red tape cost and frees HMRC from the bueaucracy costs of monitoring whether businesses have done so. HMRC can check whether the 363 is up-to-date when it conducts its tax/VAT audits of businesses every 3 years.

Why is this idea important?

That businesses only be required to make a return when the shareholders/ directors change. Saves the 2+ milion small businesses that don't really change that much £15-30 a year in red tape cost and frees HMRC from the bueaucracy costs of monitoring whether businesses have done so. HMRC can check whether the 363 is up-to-date when it conducts its tax/VAT audits of businesses every 3 years.

Simplify premises licenses processes for online businesses

My family runs an online gift basket business from home. These baskets are mainly food, but we do get asked to add the occasional bottle of wine, which we currently cannot do as we do not have a premises license. The process for getting one for an online business is currently the same as if we wanted to turn our home into an off-license, requiring that someone first get a personal license and then a premises license.

My mother (the business owner) has now gone through the process of getting a personal alcohol license. I actually think this is a good idea, as it ensures that someone in the business is responsible for adhering to current legislation and ensuring that all steps are taken to ensure that alcohol is not sold to minors.

Now we need to get the premises license. To do this, we have to publicly advertise our request in the local papers, to our neighbours, fire brigade, police etc. and put a public notice up prominently outside our house. This is in spite of the fact that no customers will be physically coming to the premises at all. All our orders are taken either online or over the phone and delivered to customers' addresses. It makes no sense.

Also, the current process is very bureaucratic, expensive (when you consider the fees involved for both the personal and premises licenses) and makes little sense for a small business like ours which is not looking at alcohol as a main line of business. And we do not want to advertise to all & sundry that we may have alcohol on the premises. The people it is most likely to interest would be those who may want to break in to steal it! 

Surely, for an internet / mail order business such as ours where we will not be dealing with customers coming to our premises at all, a personal licence should be sufficient, or the local authority should be able to grant a premises license without requiring public notices to be put up.

Please do review this, thank you.

Why is this idea important?

My family runs an online gift basket business from home. These baskets are mainly food, but we do get asked to add the occasional bottle of wine, which we currently cannot do as we do not have a premises license. The process for getting one for an online business is currently the same as if we wanted to turn our home into an off-license, requiring that someone first get a personal license and then a premises license.

My mother (the business owner) has now gone through the process of getting a personal alcohol license. I actually think this is a good idea, as it ensures that someone in the business is responsible for adhering to current legislation and ensuring that all steps are taken to ensure that alcohol is not sold to minors.

Now we need to get the premises license. To do this, we have to publicly advertise our request in the local papers, to our neighbours, fire brigade, police etc. and put a public notice up prominently outside our house. This is in spite of the fact that no customers will be physically coming to the premises at all. All our orders are taken either online or over the phone and delivered to customers' addresses. It makes no sense.

Also, the current process is very bureaucratic, expensive (when you consider the fees involved for both the personal and premises licenses) and makes little sense for a small business like ours which is not looking at alcohol as a main line of business. And we do not want to advertise to all & sundry that we may have alcohol on the premises. The people it is most likely to interest would be those who may want to break in to steal it! 

Surely, for an internet / mail order business such as ours where we will not be dealing with customers coming to our premises at all, a personal licence should be sufficient, or the local authority should be able to grant a premises license without requiring public notices to be put up.

Please do review this, thank you.